Success Story – Derrick, UAMS Nutrition Services
2014 Graduate of Project SEARCH® Arkansas: ACCESS® Initiative
If you enter the cafeteria at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), the first thing you’ll see is Derrick’s smiling face. No matter the day or the task, Derrick takes it on with a smile. As an intern with Project SEARCH®, he knew that a job in Nutrition Services was his ultimate goal. Today, Derrick gets to fulfill his dream as he happily fills plates with the daily specials and a warm greeting at the UAMS cafeteria.
Not only has Derrick found meaningful employment in career he loves, but he has gained important skills along the way. “I have seen such an increase in his confidence, maturity, and willingness to take chances and face different circumstances,” said Cynthia Powell, Derrick’s mother. “Derrick no longer feels that he has a disability. Instead, he sees that he has the ability to make a difference, not only in his own life but others as well.”
Hiring someone with a disability gives individuals so much more than a job. “The impact is priceless,” Cynthia explained. “I couldn’t put a price on it if I tried. The Project SEARCH program has given Derrick the tools for success, and he finds nothing but encouragement along every step of the way.”